Vito Schnabel (Before Night Falls), Julia Fox (Uncut Gems), and Steven Van Zandt (The Sopranos) have signed on to star in the dark comedy The Trainer, which Tony Kaye (American History X) is directing from a script by Schnabel and Jeff Solomon.
In development for nearly a decade, The Trainer is based on an original story by Schnabel. The film unfolding over eight days of sleep-deprived chaos follows Jack (Schnabel), a down-on-his-luck fitness expert living with his mother in Los Angeles, who takes a maniacal swing at fame and fortune, trying to realize his version of the American dream.
Schnabel, Kaye, and Jeremy Steckler (Old Man and the Gun, Only the Brave) are producing, with George Paaswell (Night House, Jack Goes Boating) on board to exec produce. Production will kick off in Los Angeles in early April.
“The idea of the film came into my head about ten years ago and it’s incredible to have it come together with Tony Kaye, whom I’ve spent many months working on this project with as our director and cinematographer,” said Schnabel. “I see him as one of the most talented artists in sound manufacturing and motion pictures and it’s an honor to be able to work with him.”
An internationally recognized gallerist, collector and expert in the arts, Schnabel is the founder and owner of Vito Schnabel Gallery, which operates spaces in New York and St. Moritz, Switzerland, devoted to leading modern and contemporary artists and estates. The gallery works with artists including Trey Abdella, Laurie Anderson, Francesco Clemente, Jeff Elrod, Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, Jorge Galindo, Chaz Guest, Jordan Kerwick, Spencer Lewis, Caitlin Lonegan, Markus Lüpertz, Robert Nava, Mariana Oushiro, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Sterling Ruby, Tom Sachs, Julian Schnabel, Pat Steir, Gus Van Sant, and Thomas Woodruff, as well as the estates of Lance De Los Reyes, Ron Gorchov, and Rene Ricard.
Schnabel organized his first exhibition—the 2003 group show Incubator—at the age of 16, two years later presenting a solo exhibition with acclaimed American artist Ron Gorchov. The project, marking the artist’s first NYC show in over a decade, led to resurgent interest in his work, including a solo exhibition the following year at MoMA PS1.
Other early exhibitions presented by Schnabel include a show of Terence Koh’s work at Richard Avedon’s former studio in New York in 2008; several exhibitions of Rene Ricard’s paintings in New York, Los Angeles and London; and an exhibition of Laurie Anderson’s paintings and drawings in 2012. Schnabel has also organized several major group exhibitions in temporary exhibition settings, such as DSM-V, curated by noted critic David Rimanelli, at the Farley Post Office in New York in 2013, and First Show / Last Show, presented in 2015 at the Germania Bank Building on the Bowery, which had not been open to the public since the mid-1960s.
Schnabel organized more 30 exhibitions internationally before opening his permanent gallery spaces in New York in 2013 and St. Moritz in 2015, and another location in New York in February 2021. In November 2021, he opened a temporary exhibition space in the historic Old Santa Monica Post Office, adding a new dimension to the Los Angeles art scene.
The son of painter and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Julian Schnabel has previously appeared in the films Miral and Before Night Falls, and served as an exec producer on Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum.
Fox is a Gotham Award-nominated actress who broke out with her role as Julia De Fiore, the paramour of Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner, in Benny and Josh Safdie’s A24 pic Uncut Gems. She’s also previously featured in films including No Sudden Move and series such as Acting for a Cause.
Van Zandt is best known for his role as mob consigliere and strip club owner Silvio Dante on HBO’s The Sopranos, and as a core member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. He’s also previously featured in films including The Irishman, The Christmas Chronicles, and American Flyers, and in the Netflix crime series Lilyhammer.
Kaye is best known for 1998 crime drama American History X, which marked his feature film debut. The drama, examining white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements in Los Angeles, brought Edward Norton an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Among other projects, Kaye has also directed Adrien Brody-starrer Detachment, which examined the declining education system in American high schools, and the documentary Lake of Fire. Earning a Grammy and six career nominations for his work in music videos, Kaye is also the most-awarded British director of television commercials in the history of advertising with 35 Gold Cannes Lions.
Fox is represented by WME and Framework Entertainment; Van Zandt by Renegade Nation Holdings; and Kaye by Artist International Group, Untitled Entertainment and U.S. Law Group.